Ghana’s Minister for Energy, John-Peter Amewu say that his Ministry, in consultation with the Energy Commission, has directed the country’s Southern Electricity Distribution Company, ECG, to initiate competitive procurement process for a total of 100 MW solar plant capacity.
The initiative, he stressed would be from IPPs within the next five years in line with the Renewable Energy Master Plan of the West African nation.
He said this when he delivered the keynote speech at the 6th Ghana Renewable Energy Fair themed: ‘Renewable Energy and Energy Efficient in Achieving Ghana’s Industrialization Agenda’ in Accra on Tuesday, 2020.
“Mr. Chairman, I am happy to inform you that the Renewable Energy Act 2011 has been amended to provide the legal backing for the above actions. The Amendment Bill is currently before Cabinet for consideration and approval by Parliament. The Bill also encourages small-scale self-generation and net-metering from renewables,” stated Mr. Amewu.
According to him, the Amended Bill mandates fossil fuel-based wholesale electricity suppliers, fossil fuel producers and other companies that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions to complement the global effort of climate change mitigation by investing in non-utility scale renewable energy technologies, particularly for off-grid electrification.
“I trust that Parliament will approve the bill before going on recess. The government is implementing the rural electrification scheme to make electricity available and affordable to stimulate economic activities in all rural communities in the country,” he explained.
Ghana’s Energy Minister was of the view that the strategy is to achieve this through grid extension. However, for island and lake-side communities where grid electricity cannot be extended in the immediate future, the strategy is to deploy decentralised mini-grid systems.
By this strategy, Mr. Amewu explained that the mini-grid electrification is now an integral part of the rural electrification scheme and would be public sector-led investments where the assets and infrastructures are handled in the same manner as grid extension.
In that regard, he pointed out that the government would engage the private sector to undertake the supply and installation of mini-grid systems and then hand them over to a public utility entity to manage and operate just like what pertains under rural electrification through grid extension.
“The mini-grid consumers will pay the same electricity tariff as prescribed by PURC for the public distribution entities (ECG and NEDCO) for life-line, residential and non-residential consumer classification. The existing mini-grid systems installed by the Ministry for five island communities on the Volta Lake have been handed over to the VRA to own, manage and operate,” he announced.
Ghana’s Energy Minister further said procurement process is also underway for the award of contract to install and connect approximately 4000 households in these districts.
“Early this month, I broke ground for the construction of the mini-grids systems for three of these communities located in the Ada East District.
Even though COVID-19 pandemic has adversely delayed the implementation of the various mini-grids across the country, I wish to assure you of the NPP government’s commitment to commence and complete all these projects. This is why we need your votes for four more years for Nana to do more.
In order to diversify our national energy portfolio, we recently completed Ghana’s first micro-hydropower plant to be known as the Tsatsadu Generating Station (TGS) under the Ministry of Energy’s renewable energy initiative with support from Energy Commission, UNDP and Bui Power Authority. This Plant, which will soon be commissioned by H.E the President, has a capacity of 45kW with the possibility of adding another 45kW capacity turbine in the future. It is interesting to note that this power plant was wholly constructed by Ghanaian engineers.”
Touching on the Pwalugu Multi-purpose power plant, he said it comprises of a 60MW hydro power hybridised with a 50MW solar plant by the VRA, has also commenced.
This year, Mr Amewu stated that VRA also added 6.54 MW solar PV power at Lawra in the Upper West Region to our energy mix.
He said installation works for additional 62MW solar plant comprising of 13MW in Kaleo by VRA in the Upper West Region and 50MW in Bui by BPA in the Bono Region are at various stages of completion.
Touching on the theme, Board Chairman of Energy Commission, Prof George Hagan said, “It gives us a great opportunity to discuss a bottom-up national strategy for industrialisation based on the sustainable development and utilisation of Ghana’s renewable energy resources. And it invites us to be creative, innovative and quick and confident to identify and use our local potential.”
To explore the theme, Prof. Hagan said “we have invited experienced policy makers and leaders of technological innovations and industries to lead us in our discussions over the two days of the Fair.”